20 years later, in 2012, Sylvie Fréchette's gold medal (solo) and Penny and Vicky Vilagos' silver medal (duet) at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992 are discussed. From You Tube.
The governing body of synchronized swimming in Canada is Synchro Canada. The basic skills of synchronized swimming are strokes and figures, which were originally part of the Royal Life Saving Society program. In 1924, the first competition in strokes and figures in Canada was held at the YWCA in Montréal. In the following 2 years, swimmers in Ontario and Québec became more interested in this kind of competition, and the first Dominion championship in strokes and figures was held at the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1926. Margaret Shearer (Mrs Peg Seller) became the first Canadian champion, winning the Frances C. Gale Trophy. The rules for this competition changed slightly over the years, but the trophy has continually been in competition to the present time.
Canadians in International Competition
By 1954, Canadian synchronized-swimming championships included competitions in solo, duet and team, and Canadian synchronized swimmers have competed around the world. The 1979 Canadian Female Athlete of the Year, Helen Vanderburg, won gold medals in Canadian, PAN-AMERICAN, Pan-Pacific, FINA Cup and World Aquatic championships in 1978 and 1979. Synchronized swimming was in the Olympics for the first time at the 1984 Los Angeles Games; Canada's duet and solo entries placed 2nd behind the US.
Carolyn WALDO won the solo world championship twice before winning gold in both solo and duet with Michele Cameron at the 1988 OLYMPIC GAMES. Sylvie FRECHETTE was solo world champion in 1991, but she lost the gold medal in a highly controversial judge's error at the Barcelona Olympics, settling for the silver medal. In 1993 Frechette was finally awarded the gold medal after a successful appeal. The Vilagos twins, Penny and Vicky, also won silver in duet at the 1992 Games. The solo and duet competitions were replaced in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta by a team competition, in which the Canadian team (which included Frechette) won the silver medal. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics the Canadian team won the bronze medal.
Author GLADYS BEAN
Links to Other Sites
Women in Canadian Sport
This series of biographies of outstanding Canadian women athletes is part of the Celebrating Women’s Achievements series from Library and Archives Canada. Also includes teaching guides and references.
CTV's website for the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2012 2012 Paralympic Games. Features news stories, photos, and videos about individual athletes and teams competing in previous games.
Canadian Olympic Team
See profiles of your favourite Canadian Olympic athletes as well as results and reports from previous Olympic Games. Click on "About" for details on the Canadian Olympic School Program and Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame. From the Canadian Olympic Committee.
The "Canadian Olympians" website offers a searchable images database of Canadian athletes at the Olympics, from the early 1900s through 2002. From Library and Archives Canada.
Ontario Sport Legends Hall of Fame
See brief profiles of outstanding Ontario athletes who have been inducted into the Ontario Sports Legends Hall of Fame.
La Fédération Internationale de Natation
The FINA website is dedicated to swimming, water polo, diving, synchronized swimming and open water swimming. Everything you want to know about noteworthy swimmers, rankings, regulations and major swimming competitions.
View a brief video featuring international medal-winning synchronized swimmer Helen Vanderburg. From the Footprints Collection, Historica-Dominion Institute.
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